(whypinkfloyd.com) Major Pink Floyd release campaign, Why Pink Floyd?, to include unreleased music from the archives, collectors’ box sets and complete studio recordings remastered.
Pink Floyd and EMI Music, whose association dates from 1967, announce a comprehensive release schedule, to be launched on September 26, 2011, encompassing CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, SACD, an array of digital formats, viral marketing, iPhone Apps and a brand-new single-album ‘Best Of’ collection.
The legendary band, who are still one of the most successful and iconic artists of all time, recently signed an agreement with EMI which has allowed the development of a multi-format programme of packages, many containing archive material that has been collated during an extensive process between EMI and Pink Floyd for a range of media formats.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Trick r Treat (2007)
I was scrolling my hard drive for something to watch tonight at midnight to kick off Horrorthon in the right way, and I came across this one that I remembered downloading when a bunch of you reviewed it last year (or was it the year before?). Anyway, I must not have had time to watch it before October was over, because I'd forgotten that it was on there.
I'm guessing that I put it off because it's an anthology movie, which I generally don't like: NY Stories, Four Rooms, Cat's Eye, etc. Meh. I feel like at best they usually achieve "cleverness." And this one certainly does do that, but it's also got a layer of atmosphere that unites the various vignettes in something close to a fun spooky organic whole.
And the atmosphere they go for here is kind of a quintessential mid-American Halloween vibe. Naturally, they set this in Ohio, which is pretty apt. This place is nutso for holidays generally, but Halloween in particular. There's corn mazes, and pumpkin patches, and haunted houses, and haunted corn mazes, and haunted pumpkin patches seemingly in every small town. And Athens, OH, does host a big costume street party that I think inspired some of the shots from the film. Like 30,000 folks coming in from all over "big."
My favorite bit in the movie is when Brian Cox is getting attacked by the Halloween spirit monster thing. Cox is laying on the floor, all bloodied and hurt and exhausted, but he's relieved as he's just emptied his double barrel into the monster, who seems clearly down for the count. But then a disembodied hand comes crawling around the corner, and Cox is laying there on his back, sees it, and just says in this exasperated tone, "Oh you gotta be fucking kidding me." And he nails it so it doesn't come across as silly movie banter--he's clearly still scared and in pain and all that...but he's also pissed off, and when you're pissed off and bleeding and terrified, you have to sort of curse out whatever brought this shit down on you, right?
Anyway, great start to Horrorthon 2011. I'm off!
I've scarified my phone for October. I'm sitting here waiting for midnight to arrive, as it has on the east coast. This is one of the only times I'm every jealous of people who live there.
Awesome new Whirlygirl picture on the Score blog.
Awesome new look going on the Monster List.
Horrorthon is my favorite party.
It's almost time, kiddies, the clock is ticking. Be in front of your TV sets for the Horrorthon and remember the big giveaway at the end of the month. Don't miss it, and don't forget to wear your masks. The clock is ticking, it's almost time...
I've pretty much been winging these contests the past ten days. I thought of the HHD one, like, at 11 pm Tuesday night. I was worried I might have to do a "think of a contest" contest, or just start recycling all the Best Of categories.
However, I've known for days what today's was gonna be. Scream.
Scream, I said!
OH MY GOD IT'S EATING MY LEGS!!!
Anyway, bit of business #1
A big welcome to this year's new members Abduscias and Crystal Math! Always good to see new blood. Thanks for joining us.
H-Town also joined our ranks this year, I think because she won a HHD contest by proxy. I'm not actually sure if she's tuned in. You tuned in there, H? Get in here, woman!
I've also sent an invite out to Cal of Calvin's Canadian Cave of Cool, a pretty happening blog that Jordan discovered a while ago. He had a hilarious personal experience with the movie Killdozer, which he shared when I posted my extremely late review of it last week. I'm hoping we hear from him too.
Bit of business #2
Haiku contest winners!
Here are my favorites:
Weird guy wants me dead
Well of all the rotten luck
Stupid car won’t start
I love how clueless the narrator is. "Weird guy." "Well of all the rotten luck." Dude just doesn't get that he's in a horror movie.
Don't go in there? Why?
It's just an abandoned shed
with sharpened farm tools.
Abandoned, yet the farm tools are sharpened. Such a subtle choice of cliché.
Girl causes bad thing
all friends die protecting her
girl lives makes sequel
Ah, yes. This bit of devilish math often irks me. "Hoy! Michael Myers's niece! Just jump onto that knife and save several dozen people lives already, you selfish bitch!" I mean, wouldn't she be suicidal anyway?
But the winner is AC for the following little gem. Every line of this is gold, especially the middle one.
aw, it's just a cat
can't believe i was so scared
now i can relax
Woo hoo AC! Way to win the only Countdown to Horrorthon Contest that was actually a contest!
Other bit of business #3
It's almost midnight on Thursday but I'm planning on posting a few more things. I'm going to stick them below this post, so please scroll down. September 30th is often a busy day in general, since we like to keep October a review-only space. There may be a bunch of new posts. So let's hear some chatter.
Other bit of business #4
What else... what else... Oh yeah! Screaming!
IT'S FUCKING HORRORTHON TONIIIIIGHT!!! AT GODDAMN MIDNIGHT!!!. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo...ooo.
Seriously, how cool is that, starting at midnight on a Friday night? What a great weekend to come! (Actually, I'll be working Saturday, but I can't ever watch horror flicks in the daytime, anyway. And hey, money.
And I'm gonna stay up late anyway. Like I've been doing for this whole countdown. Man I love Horrorthon.)
Last thing: I want to say thanks to all of you for getting ready with me these past ten days. The response has been very gratifying, and, well, let's face it: we're a fun group. This is going to be good.
So that's it. Go into the comments and scream your head off. If you can think of a horror movie quote that's also a scream, all the better.
OH MY GOD IT'S A GIANT AAAAANT!!! OOAARRGGH! ERK! GLK!
Okay - I said I was going to do this a week ago, but the H2010 deadline is upon us so this is my final chance! I've changed a couple of categories to better fit some of the flicks I watched.
Here's my listy-loo:
All Around Favorite: Let The Right One In
Worst Movie: The Descent Part 2
Most Disturbing Movie: Antichrist (hands down winner in that category!)
Goriest: There were a couple of movies that topped the gore in not so great ways - Descent2 and Daybreakers being the ones that stand out in my mind. For successful gore I think I would have to say Quarantine was the best.
Scariest: Again - no question on this one for me, Paranormal Activity was It.
Hottest Hottie: Although perhaps not everyone's cup of tea, Willem Dafoe gets my vote here. I mean, right?
Most Memorable Killing- Via news camera - Quarantine
Most Memorable Death - "Pipe in the ass" deaths from Let The Right One In
Biggest Disappointment: Session 9. So much potential that just didn't deliver for me.
And now....let the 2011 games begin! Whoot!
Yeah, yeah, I did this already in the first Countdown post. But dammit, I finished my reviews for 2010 with less than 24 hours to go (see below) and I'm going to put my Best Ofs in a post.
All-Around Favorite Movie: The House of the Devil
Best Hidden Gem Movie: The Old Dark House
Worst Movie: And Now the Screaming Starts!
Best So Bad It's Good Movie: Reptilicus
Most Disturbing Movie: The Reflecting Skin
Goriest Movie: Galaxy of Terror
Scariest Movie: The House of the Devil
Best Looking Monster: The critter woman from Splice
Hottest Hottie: Samantha from The House of the Devil
Most Memorable Death: Death by ice-skating, sickle-toting hag in Curtains
Most Avoidable Death: Anyone who was killed by Killdozer, especially that one guy who just sat there
Boogie Nights and It's Alive. Those are the two movies I think of when pondering the difference between a movie that takes place in a particular time period (the 70s in this example) and a movie that was actually made in that same time period. Boogie Nights has the fashions and furniture and music, but it's seen through a glam 90s filter. I was around in the 70s, and I remember that visually they were pretty obnoxious. Obnoxious like pretty much everything the camera pointed at filming It's Alive. It's got headache-inducing wallpaper, it's got unattractive, awkward people, it's got interiors that somehow convey the stale tobacco stench they carry. It's freakin' ugly. Boogie Nights can't touch it.
You have to see House of the Devil to fully understand the almost supernatural clarity with which this 2009 movie recreated the early eighties. Somehow this movie gets It's Alive credit even though it's only Boogie Nights.
JPX pointed out the freeze-frame opening in his review, but it's worth looking at again.
Check out the copyright info at the bottom. Look at that car and those buildings and her coat and then look at what the little yellow year actually is. What a riot.
Samantha is totally the pretty girl with problems that you have a crush on. Your crush will develop as you watch her find her dream apartment and then return to her dorm and her terrible roommate. You want to solve her problems for her. Then she gets offered a babysitting job that, considering her roommate and money troubles, is just too good to be true. It will turn out the job is neither good nor true, but despite the obvious threat you, like her, just really want that money.
This is a tactfully small story, and it takes proper care of its setup. Tom Noonan delivers a pretty masterful performance as the guy who must convince a young girl to walk into a scary situation in which she's already been lied to. But he crafts things carefully and offers her a steadily larger wad of cash, and she eventually agrees.
I don't want to discuss any more plot details, as there aren't that many. Suffice to say it's a perfect exercise in suspense. Very soon after she takes the job, the audience gets to see that things are overwhelmingly not as they seem, and really, really not okay. Yet Samantha knows none of this. As she walks around the house she does become steadily less calm, but she actually sees almost nothing to justify this feeling. I've heard this part of the movie pointed to as a sag in the story, but I loved it. Because honestly nothing happens, and we can still take Samantha's fear as our own.
And here's why: just as the movie's external image is rebuilt at the quantum level, so too is the scary story stripped down to its core. The sparse dialogue, the small scope of the story, the fake-but-real period production values -- by consenting to be another Lone Girl In A Dark House movie, The House of the Devil dares to become the Lone Girl In A Dark House movie.
Were this actually made in the early 80s, I doubt I'd rate it so highly. It takes the deliberate illusion to bring the primal beat of the scary tale to the surface, and make you love it. I initially thought to give it four and a half stars, just because its scope is the opposite of epic. But then I realized that The House of the Devil does everything it sets out to do, and does it perfectly. I think all 'thonners will love this neo-classic.
And thus ends my Horrorthon 2010. My god.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
From slashfilm, The second half of Paranormal Activity 3 is the most consistently intense and frightening segment so far in the popular found footage series. Directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (the guys behind Catfish) take their sweet time getting to it but once the scares begin, they don’t let up. That’s the good news. The bad news is for a third film in a series, it adds almost nothing to the overall Paranormal Activity mythology. (Not to mention well over half the footage in the new trailer is NOT in the movie.) Fans might also be disappointed that Katie Featherstone, the star of the first two films, only makes a brief cameo to give a bit of context to the rest of the film which is primarily about her character and her sister as little girls. And they did not have a pleasant childhood.
Read the rest here
Greetings. For several years now the council of blog geezers has recycled the following slab of text, usually on the eve of October. It's been updated once or twice, but more often just pasted as is, and since it's been a while and we're changing some stuff this year, I'm running it through my Revise-O-Tron. At the end I'll be asking for your input.
Horrorthon began in 2000 as a contest between JPX and Johnny Sweatpants, who are brothers. "Who can watch the most horror movies during the month of October?" I believe that only two siblings could cook up such a rivalry and actually make it happen. They did this for four years, just the two of them. The first scores were in the twenties, but rose every year. And every year Johnny Sweatpants won. The score in 2003 was an agonizing 60 to 59, JPX having to disqualify his 60th because his copy of My Bloody Valentine crapped out halfway through.
I was in RI that year, and over the course of October JPX and I sat in my sister's massive leather barcaloungers and watched around seven movies with all the lights turned off. This was my introduction to Japanese horror, and if you want to hear about JPX scaring the bejesus out of me on one of those nights, read this.
The 2003 contest is notable because that's when the reviews began (I intended to cover my seven movies but I never got around to it). The reviews started as one-paragraph capsules the boys would email back and forth to 1) warn each other about horrible movies that must be skipped, 2) tempt one another with news of good deaths, a decent amount of skin or, occasionally, a good movie, and 3) as proof that the movies had actually been viewed, since as lifelong siblings they had a healthy mistrust of each other.
In 2004 I was back in California with a stupid job and a stunted social life. I joined the contest full blast, the three of us staged a vicious battle, and the numbers from that year weren't bested for three more years afterwards. I would get home from work, rent a stack of videos on the way home from the BART station, settle onto my bed that had a TV at its foot, and suck 'em down. I'd write my reviews at work the next day and that would be pretty much all I did until about 1 in the afternoon. The other guys were in pretty much the same boat regarding jobs and lives, so we fed off of each other's fury and the final score was 98-96-95. The newbie had taken the hill, and JSP had once again topped his older brother's score by one. And we had written hundreds of reviews of horror movies (okay, two-hundred-something, but that's technically "hundreds").
In 2005, instead of having these reviews pile up in our email folders, we made the blog you see before you. For eleven months the blog morphs and gathers members, and now it's a forum for chatter about movies, celebrities both loved and despised, strange technology, our common disregard for organized religion, showing off our work, keeping in touch with each other -- basically a place for flexing our weird and personal artistic brain muscles.
SCORING (AND MORE HISTORY)
If you click here you will see the Horrorthon Score blog (the link is also conveniently located in our links sidebar on top of the main blog here, just beneath the now huge list of contributors). My cohorts have made a post for everybody's individual list of movies viewed and a scorekeeping post on top. We'll go in and add titles and numbers as the reviews pop up. PLEASE let us know if we screw anything up, since we are not infallible.
Also on the Score site, you can scroll down to see the scores and lists from the previous few years. JPX finally bested his brother's score in 2005, although I beat them both again that year. Then in 2006, after six years of battle, JPX took the top spot with a very respectable 67 flicks viewed. 50PageMcGee also joined in earnest that year, upping our contestant list to four.
Which was PEANUTS compared to 2007, when no less than a full dozen people threw down. JPX once again proved he was here to win, watching a whopping 80 movies.
Since then the roster has remained pretty hefty, with about 12 to 15 people jumping in to varying degrees. We've got 19 people in our writer's room right now, and maybe we'll hear from everybody. No matter what, I know it's going to be interesting.
No history of our score would be complete without mentioning the coming of Catfreeek in 2008. My measely record of 98 was shattered by the never before seen three-digit total -- not just by Cat with a lethal 110 movies viewed, but also by JPX with 107. Cat has claimed the title for the two years since then, not only racking up skull-exploding numbers but also finding an eye-popping array of weird, obscure titles that none of her fellow horror fiends have ever heard of. HOWEVER, we have a new blogger this year who might be a dark horse contender, Cat's friend Abduscias.
Whatcha thinking, Abby? You going to topple our horror queen or what?
You do have to write a review of a movie for it to count, but we hope that requirement should be considered as friendly and inviting as the player should want. Format for the reviews is pretty basic: the movie title is the title of the post, the post starts with the year the movie was made, then your rating out of five stars, then whatever you want to say about it. Generally a couple of sentences (summary, opinion) is standard, but there aren't any actual requirements about review content other than there being some.
It's particularly important to note the loose format this year, because for the first time we're adding a deadline to combat the burnout that comes in November when you've got leftover reviews to write. Hopefully the deadline will spur the completion of more reviews, and a loose format will help that to happen.
I have a complex about finishing all my reviews, and on more than one occasion I've been squeezing the last few out in the final days of September before the new contest begins. Since I can't do that this year, if I'm hitting deadline crunch I plan on cranking out some single sentence reviews -- or maybe a review in haiku, as has already been done by Mr. AC. So don't worry too much about form; it's more important just to get into it, watch a horror movie, and rap about it.
This is usually the spot where you'd see the guide to the five-star rating system, but I'm moving that to the bottom because that's what today's constest/discussion is about.
WHAT MAKES A HORROR MOVIE?
The best and fastest reference for that question is the Horrorthon Monster List, the wonderful, Johnny-Sweatpants-created compendium of links to our vast library of reviews, arranged alphabetically by movie title. If you can find it there, it counts. Anything that imdb or Netflix tags as "horror" also counts. But basically, it's any movie designed to have some kind of scary thrill. There's a fair amount of spillover between horror and the genres of action, sci-fi, thriller, suspense and comedy. We've been operating with a loose definition of things for some time now, so go ahead and use your judgement. Johnny Sweatpants pushed the envelope one year when he reviewed High School Musical -- obviously not a horror movie, but horrifying none the less.
(Of the genres I just listed, I'd say that maybe comedy is the one to best avoid, as it sort of subverts scary. But not always. Shaun of the Dead counts because it's actually pretty scary, Slither has some funny elements. In my opinion outright parodies like the Scary Movie titles wouldn't. A lot of the crappy movies that have shown up on Mystery Science Theater 3000 count, but watching them with the MST3K commentary would defeat the purpose. Again, in my opinion.)
Most of all, don't be afraid to experiment. We like surprises.
OTHER RULES AND SCORING
We're adding some new stuff this year! I've compiled our short list of rules together, old stuff and new.
1. Watch horror movies between midnight on September 30th and midnight on October 31st, with a grace period for the movie you started on Halloween night that didn't end at midnight.
2. Post reviews of your movies on Horrorthon to get them counted.
3. Maximum of two reviews posted daily, but this limit is revoked once the deadline is a week away (see below).
4. Maximum of five movies viewed that are only one hour (or less) in length.
5. ALL reviews must be in by midnight local time on Sunday, November 20th. (If we like how this works out, the ongoing rule will be the third Sunday in November.)
6. Winner is the one who watches the most movies.
Note on #3: It occurs to me that the two-a-day limit plus the deadline means anyone with more than 102 movies (yikes!) would be breaking the rules to post them all. To make sure that doesn't happen, and to help out those who do things at the last minute, the two-a-day rule is lifted after Sunday November 13th.
Note on #6: I love the quantity-based nature of Horrorthon, because it's that drive to consume and share that makes the month of October so festive. But because we're not three guys with no social lives anymore, there's a lot more variance in score than there was during Horrorthon's humble beginnings.
So this year, to go along with our tidy schedule, we're going to add some other categories of appreciation that everyone can shoot for and vote on. Here's what the final roster of accolades will look like:
Straight-up Most Movies Watched (obviously we don't vote on this one)
All-Around Favorite review
Best So Bad It's Good review
On November 21st or thereabouts we'll do a "Everybody Vote!" post and pick some winners. But take a look at the list now, so you can note your personal faves as they happen. Horrorthon is voluminous, and not something you want to hunt through weeks later.
CONTEST TIME! RATE THE RATINGS
Revamping the following has been on the blog's to-do list before there even was a blog, and by gum we will do it today. Here are the ratings as they exist now:
***** Five stars: This goes to a horror masterpiece, something you think is essential viewing. (The original Halloween)
****1/2 Four and a half stars: Top notch movie, but not quite perfect. Or a would-be perfect movie with a notable flaw or two. (1408)
**** Four stars: Great, solid stuff. Not really edging into the realm of perfection, but satisfying and fun. (Phantasm)
***1/2 Three and half stars: A viewable movie with a little something extra to make it stand out. (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives)
*** Three stars: This is the baseline rating for something you want another Horrorthonner to know is worth their time. Perhaps without any real surprises, but a movie with all the parts in place that's still fun and at least somewhat engaging. (Hellbound: Hellraiser II)
**1/2 Two and a half stars: Just short of universally recommendable. Noticably of lower quality but still possibly worth checking out, but no big deal if you don't. A lot of so-bad-it's-good movies get this rating. (The House That Dripped Blood)
** Two stars: Pretty lame, but maybe it's got a good monster, or some notable deaths, or some notable boobs (Mantis in Lace)
*1/2 One and half stars: Really bad, but with some element that keeps it from total suckitude (Leprechaun)
* One star: Godawful, virtually unwatchable. Save for the absolute bottom of the barrel (Jason X)
ZERO STARS: Not a rating to throw around, but some movies make you envy Helen Keller. (Beyond the Wall of Sleep)
Okay, I'm sure you noticed that I only included one example for each rating, and this is where I need your help. You don't have to think of something for each of the ten different rating categories I just outlined, but if you can throw out a couple of examples I bet we can cobble a descent list together.
But that's not all! Horrorthon starts at midnight TOMORROW. If you've got any questions or input (especially other achievement categories to vote on), here's the place.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Becky screamed in dread
The bloody words on the wall
Would take days to clean
I think you know how to do this, folks. It's Wednesday and I've declared a surprise assault on the sanctity of Eastern poetry. Think of some overused, beloved/hated horror movie cliché and give me 17 syllables on it. As an added bonus I will actually declare a winner when I post tomorrow's contest. But you're all winners!
Boobs bounce in moonlight
Machete glint in the pines
Have sex and you die
The week keeping us from Horrorthon is halfway over! Wax poetic!
(But also, scroll down. Jordan and I both have new posts up.)
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I've arrived at the second-to-last movie of my Horrorthon 2010. My Classic Slasher Remake film festival was short (only four movies), but revealed something right as Nightmare started rolling: the Freddy premise is actually quite smart. What does Michael do? He chases you around the house and kills you. What does Jason Voorhees do? He chases you around the woods and kills you. What does Freddy Kreuger do? He chases you around your dreams and kills you. "Good golly!" I realized, "that is a much more intelligent idea than masks and knives." Of course, over the years the Elm Street franchise has squandered most of that intelligence in base stupidity, like Freddy in sunglasses, superhero skateboarding Freddy, or the terrifying exploding parrot.
I'm a bit divided on whether that means this remake was a good idea. I keep trying to champion the idea of remakes. "What about Dawn of the Dead or The Ring?" I keep saying. I avoid hopping on bandwagons about Hollywood being out of ideas, because I think the real problem (and not just in Hollywood) is that the people making the money are terrified every second of not making more money than the previous second. I don't join the battlecry that remakes have deleterious effects on the original films, because the originals are still right there for anyone to see. Having different versions of the same story or character is fine -- cripes, the comic book medium depends on it. There are several acceptably "real" versions of Batman, and taking a long-running franchise and letting it branch out just makes sense.
But I can't deny that most remakes do tend to leave you with an empty feeling inside. And although I'm giving it three and a half stars, A Nightmare on Elm Street was one of those.
The revamped Freddy story does have some things going for it. Jackie Earl Haley plays a great Freddy, less a man than a darting, crooked homunculus, eschewing clever quips in favor of just being plain old mean. "Why are you screaming? I haven't even cut you yet."
Insomnia has always been an important part of these stories and this one uses the mathematics of sleeplessness to enable a quick pace. Our heroes race against time, because apparently after you've been awake a certain amount of time, you start dreaming without going to sleep.
And I'll just go ahead and say it: Heather Langenkamp, the original Nancy, is not a very good actress. I feel bad saying that because I recently read a very whiny article about how she's baffled and sad that she isn't more famous. Sorry Heather! Anyway, her successor is far more interesting (it's Rooney Mara, aka the American Girl with a Dragon Tattoo).
But while parts of the movie filled my metaphorical movie tummy with ice cream, other parts of the movie came in and took stuff out, ensuring that empty feeling I mentioned earlier. I didn't like that Kreuger was changed from child killer to child molestor, as it seemed a blunt, obvious "updating" kind of maneuver. Likewise it bugged me that alive Freddy was shown playing with and hugging the kids at the daycare place -- this was before it was revealed he was molesting them -- because to me he works better as a creepy, isolated janitor.
And I'm always irked by the frequent cinematic assumption that people have no memories from before they were five years old, it's ludicrous. Something bad happen to your kid? No problem! Kids have memories like fish. You don't even need one of those Men In Black brainwiping flash pens.
I was thinking I'd like to see a remake that did precisely enough and no more -- flicks that don't leave you feeling empty somehow, but that aren't showstoppers like Dawn and Ring. You know, just to get some sort of base reading. But the showstoppers probably are the base reading, because you have to do it better or different enough so that your audience doesn't just remember the first time it went down.
Last year's A Nightmare on Elm Street is worth your time, but it will also remind you woefully of dark alleys and long arms.
Okay so Octo already posted my Thon review from last year. Doesn't mean I can just let all of JSP's hard work go to waste.
Here's the image that would have accompanied my re-post.
[JPX sez] I immediately thought of that Twilight Zone episode, "It's a Good Life" where Bill Mumy wishes his father out into the cornfield,
From slashfilm, In 2009 we were a bit surprised to hear that Stephen King was considering penning a sequel to The Shining. That book is one of King’s signature stories, thanks in part to the Stanley Kubrick film adaptation. (A film which King hated to such a degree that he made his own television version in 1997.) So there’s the question, is a sequel to The Shining sacrilege or long-awaited dream?
Regardless, it is happening. The title originally reported, Dr. Sleep, is in fact the name of the book, and the author is already out reading excerpts from it. Oh, and the story involves a band of, essentially, psychic vampires. I know this isn’t really movie news, but chances are it will be, perhaps sooner rather than later. So read a bit more about Dr. Sleep here
I want to give some shouts to some recent additions to the older posts.
Johnny Sweatpants threw down a fat list of genres and subgenres on the Theme and Sub-theme contest. He's made some noise about compiling a list of horror themes that has a place for every horror movie, and I think he's the one to do it.
50PageMcGee posted his 2010 Best Ofs on the Best Ofs contest, and apparently his little feelings were hurt because he already posted his in January (I checked, but only November and December). I can't judge him for tardiness because I posted a 2010 review freakin' yesterday. If you check his original post you can see all the comments afterwards from people wondering what's up with the trailing-off of Horrorthon. Makes me feel all the better about our new deadline.
While I was poking around in the archives, I came across another late comment that I bet nobody saw, here on JPX's post about Creature Double Feature... from one of the website's artists. Thanks for commenting, Hartter! Are you still tuning in? Checking out the CDF site I realized the movie with the Gritted Teeth Lady must be somewhere on their movie list. How wonderful and terrifying!
Anyway, for today's contest I thought I'd veer off the horror chatter and get into some plain old chatter. I suggested in my Super Hero Reviewapalooza that we should dialogue more about the movies we see and the TV we like to watch. Something quick and informal, just to put good stuff on each other's radar during the rest of the year. What I imagine is a periodic What Are You Watching? post, which anyone can do. If you just got obsessed with a new show on Animal Planet, let us know in a What Are You Watching post, and then everyone else can reveal what they've latched onto recently in the comments.
How about it, Horrorthonners? You've got four more days as civilians. What Are You Watching?
Monday, September 26, 2011
Today I want you to think of at least one moment in a movie that scared the bejesus out of you so much it's still kind of creeping you out today. By this point in our Horrorthon careers I know we've accumulated a couple of those, but what I'm really hoping for is a story from your childhood -- one of those formative scares, the kind that echo in your skull and shape your taste in movies for years to come (or so I assume, since you're sitting here reading this).
Having said that, Countdown to Horrorthon contest rules still apply: you enter, you win. I'm not here to slap down restrictions; I'm here to encourage participation. It need not be kid's stuff, let's hear what you got!
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I actually gave this a half-star bump over its irksome predecessor. For one thing, I don't revere the original Halloween II like I do the first one, so Zombie's clumsy bootprints aren't tracking mud on one of my personal classics. And he does one or two things to which I must give a grudging respect.
As with the original, we start just after the events of the first movie, but Zombie decided to take the entire hospital experience and condense it into a brief dream sequence, cutting to Laurie Strode waking up in terror one year later. I wonder if there was an outcry at this, but for me it's one decision I kind of like. I mean, why not? Maybe the first thing you need to make a good remake is to have the courage to make it your own. I also thought (at first) that characterizing Laurie as an emotional wreck of a person a year after last Halloween was a bold move, too. Much better than the vapid, horny caricature of a teenager she was. There's even a nice touch of realism. Her family all dead, Laurie now lives with her friend Annie Brackett and her dad the sherriff. The scene I liked is when, despite how generous Annie has been, Laurie is a bitch to her. It makes sense.
There was another scene I liked in which some farmers discover Michael Myers out in their wheat field at night, realizing he's the guy who's been poaching their livestock (apparently for the bulk of a year). They go to beat him up and get dead for their trouble -- but Michael also mercilessly kills the woman in the group who had urged the men not to hurt the giant, scraggly homeless person who eats raw sheep. As with the killing of Danny Trejo's character in the last flick, Zombie does a good job showing that Michael's murderous tendencies just don't give a fuck.
That is the last nice thing I will say about this movie.
Unfortunately Rob Zombie's hillbilly lust that I griped about before has not been replaced in this movie but only slightly broadened. Laurie's descent into despair ultimately plays out in a glorified and lurid fashion, like watching an episode of the Jerry Springer show. Dr. Loomis, famous because of his connection to Michael Myers and the book he wrote about him, is ludicrously famous, constantly shown trying to get into his limo while crowded by reporters and assistants who he isn't listening to because he's on his cell phone. And while he's turning Michael's origins into pop psychology describing the "perfect storm" of external and internal conditions to create his form of insanity (yawwwn), the real cheese bomb is what's going on in Michael's head.
The plot element that Laurie and Michael are siblings was a creation of the original Halloween II and not the first movie, in which Michael zeroes in on Laurie for no other reason than he sees her drop something off at his old house. I know their being family is considered canon, but I've personally never liked it. Not only is remake Michael compelled to find and kill his sister, but he's also being egged on to do so by a haunted, angelic apparition of his mother. Sometimes she's with young Michael in his clown suit and sometimes she's with a big white horse, the equine symbolism having been crammed into Michael's backstory. Not only is this 1) silly as hell, 2) a rather obvious move on Zombie's part to get some more work for his wife Sheri Moon, it's also 3) guilty of casting Michael's murderous rampage in a sympathetic light.
While I do think it's possible to make a good movie full of unlikeable characters, when you have such a cast and then throw in something like the noble glowing horse lady, any notion of caring about these characters is evaporated. So he kills Laurie, so what? She's a bitchy lightning rod for murder and then the family will all be together again, apparently on a very clean ranch in the afterlife. No prob.
A couple more sins for the scorecard: The setting for this movie is no longer a town but a vast collection of dark fields punctuated by the occasional house or barn. And if you're a serial killer you can move through the fields like wormholes. Michael shows up at some barn rave and whacks one of Laurie's friends in the parking lot, which is a senseless move even by his standards because Laurie leaves the party right afterwards. But then somehow when she gets home he's already hiding by a nearby tree. Later on enough of Michael's mask falls away so you can see what he looks like (just like Tyler Mane, the very tall dude who plays him), and unbelievably he even speaks (!). It's just one word, but still. Grownup Michael Myers doesn't talk.
Laurie's final fate will elicit and eyeroll and shrug: she's in the booby hatch herself, hanging out with her luminous dead mom just like Michael was. Is it a ghost or is she crazy? I really don't care, and I do not officially recognize the gravitas Rob Zombie thinks he's operating with here. As I've said before, I'm not automatically anti-remake, but the Halloween examples are the worst of their kind.
You know what I'm talking about! Those bizarre cinematic mutants that are produced in a maelstrom of awful writing, clumsy acting, poor production values and general incompetence and through unknown alchemy somehow emerge as a wicked good time. For today's contest, name at least one of your favorite So Bad It's Goods, add a few words if you feel like it -- and then, for comparison's sake, name one of the many, many Just Bad movies that don't have that special gutter magic.
I'm going to start things off here in the post instead of the comments, because as it happens I have a perfect example of each kind of flick in the Horrorthon vaults. These were both written during the beautiful bloodbath that was Horrorthon 2004, and I don't think anyone besides JPX and JSP has read them.
SO BAD IT'S GOOD
Sorority House Massacre II
Laaaadies and Gentlemen! This is the one! This is the reason I’ve been grinding my teeth through all the prom nights and slumber parties. I’ve found it. The best knockoff pajama slasher movie yet! Other movies talk about having girls running around in their underwear, picked off one by one with tools and hooks, but this one actually does it.
What’s that you say? Tools and hooks, you’ve seen ‘em? No no, you misunderstand. I was talking about the underwear. My research of this subgenre has finally made it out the late 80’s! The call of Victoria’s Secret has been heard! No more gym shorts and sleeveless T-shirts, these girls spend the whole night in lingerie. All the drinking, ouija-boarding, sleeping-bagging, flashlight-holding, attic-looking-in and rusty-hook-hanging-on are done while decked out in the flimsiest of dainties.
Now, some of you might argue that the sorority sisters in question aren't really Victoria's Secret models, and I'd have to concede the point. But tell me you aren't satisfied seeing the girl with the lacy, semi-transparent bra and butt-revealing panties with her ankle in a bear claw trap. You can't, can you? I didn't think so.
While I'm on the subject, I may as well point out that we see all five players change into their underwear, too. So, unlike Slumber Party II, when you see the buxom group chatting away happily at the beginning, you know you're going to be five for five by the end. Or perhaps I should say ten for ten. Aaaaand there's a needless subplot that takes us to a strip club. Oh, there's also the decision to leave the house despite the rain and the fact that their clothes are upstairs. The leaving doesn't work out, of course, but they do stand there in the rain for a few minutes get wetter and wetter in the aforementioned underwear. This movie has everything!
Rather than build its story off the previous movie, SHM2 spins its own five-years-ago murder, which the creepy neighbor tells the girls while they're still dressed. Best part is, the flashback footage is taken from Slumber Party Massacre! They pretend it's a story of a guy killing his wife and daughters, and when the creepy neighbor's story is finished, he says "and it alll happened right here where we're standing." (Except that it alll looks completely different.)
This one's a winner, boys. Not Slumber Party. Not the first Sorority House movie. Sorority House Massacre II. Ask for it by name.
Slumber Party Massacre II
Arrgh, this sucked! This one hurt, boys. Sigh, a bunch of girls and boys get together and most of them get whacked by an extremely loathsome rockabilly guy with a lot of eyeliner and a ridiculous guitar drill.
This was a ninety minute cringefest. Unluckily for us, the girls are in a band, so we get to watch them sing a few songs, sing along with the radio a couple of times, and basically do a lot of getting down, white girl style. Only one girl takes off her top for the raucous pillow fight, and it's not the girl you want to.
All throughout our Hero Girl is having flashes of the carnage to come, and my God! do they drive that to heretofore unexplored levels of boring. Seems like you can push back the killing action to the last half hour if you ply the audience with an hour's worth of dream sequences and hallucinations (perhaps intentionally ripping off American Werewolf). By the time the killer shows up, little Courtney can't even sustain a scene without thinking there's a hand in her burger, the bathtub's full of blood or her friend's zit has completely taken over her face (yeah, thanks a lot for that one). When the killer does finally appear, he might be a manifestation of her mind for all we know, but at least the blood is still on her when she goes screaming to her friends. They run around, don't look in the back seat, get killed, see friends' bodies and freak out, you know. Even when he kills the guy I hated, it's somehow unsatisfying. At the end, was it all a dream, or was it, and who cares?
JPX contends that American horror jumped the shark when Freddy put on his shades and parked in that beach chair, and the killer in this movie is stone-cold proof that he's right. One of his signature elements is the hidden smoke machine, scary! And we are made to suffer through a little dance number by him, too. This one is absolutely toxic.
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Some good folks that I worked for years ago had a stop-motion production called Sam Sandwich produced in Burbank at Chiodo Brothers studio. I went to the studio to see the final round of Sam Sandwich weeklies, and afterwards wandered around the shop. The Chiodo Brothers have been in the business for years, and in additional to doing a ton of special effects they also produced and directed none other than Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Right here is an unpainted cast of a Klown headpiece. I welcome you to groove on it.
Today's contest is all about themes, or roundups, or whatever you call the groups of similar movies that form either by accident or design in your Horrorthon lineup of any given year. For instance you might say "By gum! This year I plan to partake of several Mad Hillbilly movies," or perhaps you'll say "Say, how about another Seventies Animals Attack movie, my dear?"
Unless they feel like it, I don't want anyone to reveal any plans they have in the works for next month (I mean next week! Hee hee hee!), because surprising your fellow 'thonners with an emerging theme can be part of the fun. This discussion is actually intended to be pretty loose: bring up themes you've done in the past, themes you chip away at every year, themes you think you'd like someone else to tackle. If you don't really work with this kind of guideline, talk about horror subgenres that you either like or avoid.
The Sub-Themes, or maybe Sub-Sub-Themes, are less thematic and more about various horriffic occurances that happen in at least two different movies [edit: or, if the sub-theme is awesome enough, like "not only did I create this evil invention which might destroy the world, but I also fucked it," it can be just one movie]. I've done posts in the past about some of my favorites, but as an example I'll throw out a work-in-progress.
Sub-theme: Movies in which a topless woman is impaled on a pair of antlers mounted on the wall.
I'm calling this a WIP because I'm only mostly sure I'm right about either of them and I don't feel like watching either the Lost Boys sequel or the Friday the 13th remake again. Any help, gang?
As I just did there, if you have a bizarre sub-theme to list, it's good to mention the flicks on the list. (Stage whisper: Watch out for major spoilers!)
Okay, a few rules:
[Edit] Never mind! The discussion is unfolding perfectly without any rules. [End edit]
How about it, gang? You game?
(Stage whisper) Horrorthon....!
Friday, September 23, 2011
Only two days in and the list of respondants is growing like that hunk of monster I've got in that nutrient tank downstairs. Congrats to The Mr., Abduscius and AC for joining the throwdown! Kudos also to our first-rounders who came back for more.
Today's contest is something I've actually thought about during September in previous years. We spend all of Horrorthon either recommening or de-recommending movies, but for me there's always the particular few that I really want others to seek out. Take a look at your own lists on the Horrorthon Score blog (and not just last year's), and pick one to five flicks you would really like to see reviewed by some of your colleagues. It doesn't have to be a movie that's been viewed only by you, but on the other hand choosing Trick r' Treat or The Orphanage would be silly.
And happy Friday, folks! This time next week we'll be mere hours from the fun. Say it with me now!
When JPX posted his review of Killdozer last year, I was so jealous that he thought of that before I did that I ran right out to my awesome obscure video store Eddie Brandt's and snagged it. They had it on dvd, but it's a weird dvd; the old Sci-Fi channel logo is stuck in the corner of the screen and when I tried to take screenshots they came out horribly squished. Some guy on a different blog griped about the SF logo on the dvd he bought in the store, so I guess it's just plain store-bought weird.
The reason I was so hot to see Killdozer is that I saw an ad for it way back when I was a kid. Maybe this was back in 1974 or maybe they rebroadcast it, but the closing image of the spot never left me, although I would learn that I misremembered it to an almost violent degree. As I recalled, it was a man sitting in the driver's seat of some regular, non-killing construction equipment, while behind him loomed the colossal bulk of Killdozer, completely filling the frame and clearly much larger beyond it. It was an impossibly-sized orange machine, like those that feature regularly in Thunderbirds, or like one of those huge bastards in the background of Avatar:
Clearly, Killdozer lived up to its awesome name.
The closest image I could find to match my impression was this:
I don't know what this image is promoting, but that is the mechanical monster that's flitted on the peripheries of my monster-machine dreams. Huge, science-fictiony, and out to get you. While I was looking for a picture that spoke to those dreams, I found the original scary take on the idea:
And here's the inevitable Marvel Comics version, in which Killdozer actually talks:
It's important to note that in both the previous pictures, Killdozer is shown to be most effective it its victims are already lying down. The real kicker of Killdozer is, of course, the true nature of the beast:
Yes, it's a bulldozer. Apparently my young brain added a lot of gloss to the terrifying final image of the ad: it's not colossally huge, it's not science-fictiony, hell, it isn't even goddamn orange. To be fair, it is the large-sized model of available bulldozer; the guys in the movie also have a regular-sized bulldozer, so you can see that Killdozer is a good... oh, 45% bigger. Way to go.
This is hilarious for two reasons: One, it's not really all that big. Two, it's pretty damn big -- as in heavy, as in slow, as in totally able to be evaded by briskly walking away. In one scene, a guy on foot parries around in front of Killdozer, trying to escape from its lethal sphere of influence. This scene is depicted almost entirely with closeups, because even the most casual glance reveals the utterly easy gettawayability. There's one long shot, apparently deemed "still scary" because the guy stumbles, and it completely gives the game away. In addition to the beleaguered editors, it's fun to watch the cast try to talk up the (cough cough) deadly threat they're up against. At one point they put together a daring plan and hop in their non-evil vehicles and tear away... but then the music swells and the camera swings over to Killdozer hiding behind some grass watching them. Yes, somehow a smoke-spewing machine that sounds like eight Harleys snuck up on them.
JPX brilliantly included the following clip in his review. Killdozer is bizarrely exactly like this.
The other delightful aspect of this seventies TV movie is the thick, syrupy, adorable/hateful man drama. Killdozer is padded out with stoic, squinty dialogue delivered with no irony whatsoever and with musical accompaniment applied in the manner of pancake makeup.
As in Yog, Monster from Space, the real villain in Killdozer is a malevolent alien intelligence in the form of blue light, possessing and making monsters of Earth's innocent crabs, squids and bulldozers. When it transfers from the meteorite it arrived in into the hapless bulldozer, the resulting flare badly burns one of our characters, and thus begins the man drama. While the boss and the doctor-ish guy seriouly discuss Is He Gonna Make It, the other three guys in the cast get in a heated discussion about why the boss was driving the bulldozer at that moment and not the burned guy (because union rule violations make for great horror). Later we hear much wheedling about how the boss is a recovered alcoholic and how this will look on his record, and the guy in the wife-beater get tediously maudlin about the good times he's had with the burned guy on other construction jobs on remote islands. Particularly he mentions the great times they had swimming (like, a lot), crescendoing in a boozily impulsive decision to go swimming right this very second -- and then I get the image that I'd clung to all these years:
But don't worry, clearly that wouldn't be a threat unless you sat there in the Jeep for two whole minutes, needlessly paralyzed by the unsurprising appearance of the killdozer that's been occupying all of your and your buddies' attention for the last 48 hours, waiting while it heaves and clanks towards you and kills you.
Despite its undisputably awesome name, Killdozer is not good. Not good at all. But the time you have watching it, that will very possibly be good. Perhaps very good.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
(whypinkfloyd.com) Major Pink Floyd release campaign, Why Pink Floyd?, to include unreleased music from the archives, collectors’ box sets and complete studio recordings remastered.
Well all right! That's some decent response to the first day's challenge; we heard from JPX, JSP, Cat and myself -- not an unexpected turnout from the regulars -- and then also, to my delight, Trevor, who we generally see less of in the off season. Way to represent, Trevor! There are still some regulars not hopping on my bandwagon, and I will be pestering some of you individually.
However, my main point is not to pester but to entice participation, so one we go with contest Number Nine. Post something!
This is an exercise to limber up your blogging muscles. Just a warmup. Find a picture and post it, along with a couple words. Those words can even be "a couple words" if you like. Review the donut you had for breakfast, compose a haiku about the last trashy novel you read. Anything. Slap it up there and we'll comment on it. I'll keep moving this post up to greet newcomers.
Remember: you enter, you win.
Horrorthon is coming!
[Edit by Octo]
Or, just watch it!
Two big fat guys sat on stools, facing each other. Between them lay a red table and on the table rested two cupcakes. The two fellas were engaged in a lively conversation and both were laughing heartily. The cupcakes looked moist and irresistible but neither gentleman acknowledged the sugary treat that was within reach. There was something so simple and beautiful about the scene that lay before me. As I stared at them awestruck I was flooded with questions. What were they laughing at? Whose idea was it to pop by the ol’ cupcake shop? What kind of cupcakes did they order? Who would take the first bite? What did that creamy pink frosting taste like? Did I see peanut butter? I fantasized about going in to introduce myself. Perhaps if I bought them the next “round” then they’d welcome me into their inner circle. I considered taking a picture with my phone to capture the glorious moment but I had already been staring for about 10 seconds and I didn’t want to be rude. I’ve regretted not taking a picture ever since.
For the past 11 months every time I have opened my desk drawer at work I have seen this crumpled piece of paper taunting me, reminding me that I’m lazy. What is it, you ask? It’s the final page of my Horrorthon film list from last year. When I watch movies for this silly contest I find myself scribbling down the film titles on any scrap of paper I can find.
Looking at this list now I see that I attempted to create a “system”. I crossed out the films I have already reviewed and highlighted what I have left. What was I going to do with the highlighted films once I reviewed them? I never got that far. It’s a terrible and confusing system and each year I’m determined to be more organized about it.
For the past 11 months I have been determined to finish my reviews. Given that we are going to start a new contest in 9 days I realize that I have been kidding myself. I’m never going to finish last year’s reviews any more than I’m going to sign up for intramural football. When I look at this list I don’t remember a single thing about any of these films. This year I am going to be more disciplined about this, damnit!
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
From bloodydisgusting, "After over one hundred years of service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees --Claire (Sara Paxton) and Luke (Pat Healy)—are determined to uncover proof of what many believe to be one of New England's most haunted hotels. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of minimum wage “ghost hunters” begin to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the hotel’s long unexplained history"
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
If you're confused, scroll down to my previous post. I'm hijacking the caption contest and sticking it on hiatus until after Horrorthon. We've got business to attend to. Awesome business. Wicked fun business. Horrorthon business.
(Business first, contest to follow)
It's been a pokey blog year for all of us, and it's been for the usual reason; despite how it looks, we actually have lives. The Venerable Council of Blog Geezers (JPX and Johnny Sweatpants and myself) have been discussing some tweaks to the contest that might help with the inevitable, slow burnout that often marks the holiday season on the blog. Time to open the discussion.
Here are the rules of Horrorthon as they exist now:
-- Watch horror movies between midnight on September 30th and midnight on October 31st, with a grace period for the movie you started on Halloween night that didn't end at midnight.
-- Post reviews of your movies on Horrorthon to get them counted
-- Maximum of two reviews posted daily
-- Winner is the one who watches the most movies
Here's the rule we're thinking of adding (finally, for real): a hard deadline on reviews. Dragging the review stage on into December just doesn't make sense. It's like writing thankyou notes for Christmas presents towards the end of January. JPX was pushing for mid-November, I was pushing for after Thanksgiving, but I'm starting to think getting it all done earlier will be better.
Assuming the last day of the deadline should be a Sunday that leaves either November 13th or 20th. Maybe the long term deadline rule should become the second or third Sunday in November. Or Tuesday, I don't know. I want to hear your thoughts on this one.
Here's the more fun part!
Horrorthon is at heart a quantity-based contest, and indeed I look forward to the day many years hence when I win that title again. (And I've heard a rumor that Catfreeek's friend Abduscias watches more movies than Cat -- some Clash of the Titans action for the top spot could be cool.) This year, to go along with our tidy schedule, we're going to add some other categories of appreciation that everyone should vote on. Here are the categories so far thunk up:
Straight-up Most Movies Watched (obviously we don't vote on this one)
All-Around Favorite review
Best So Bad It's Good review
We'll do a "Vote now!" post and everyone will throw in, and we count up the winners and they get the same absolutely nothing that we've doled out for years. And bragging rights.
I really want to hear your thoughts on this one -- any other winning categories we can kick in there?
AND NOW THE CONTEST
The Countdown to Horrorthon Contest rules are very simple. If you enter, you win. Deadline for all contests is the very second that Horrorthon starts. I will be checking back on the earlier days' stuff. Since this is a countdown, I'll be starting with Contest Number Ten.
Contest Number Ten: Best Ofs
I can't be sure, but it looks like not a single one of us did our Best Ofs for 2010. To me, that's the saddest part of the contest just fading to a stop. Wrap-ups are fun! So go to the Horrorthon Score Blog and look at your listings from last year, and to the best of your memory stick the following into a comment:
All-Around Favorite Movie
Best Hidden Gem Movie
Best So Bad It's Good Movie
Most Disturbing Movie
Best Looking Monster
Most Memorable Death
Most Avoidable Death
You don't have to do them all in one comment, but you can. You don't even have to do them all. Movies that you didn't get around to reviewing are fair game. And please chime in on the discussion above, whether you get to making a list or not.
I'm not telling you who won the caption contest! Take that!
My purpose is singular: I'm hijacking Wednesdays and all the other days for Horrorthon-related discussion and contest-type thingies. I'm gonna get that post going shortly. This is just the post in which I fire a machine gun into the ceiling and tell you what's what. But since I'm not a jerk, here are the strips with the words restored.
Hey JPX! More poop jokes!
What a doofus.
Notice how I greened out the Back To School sign? I practically wrote photoshop, dawg!
I wish to God that fish had been a character that talked and joked before Garfield ate him.
Think expository thoughts, Diana!